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Complex systems

The Sessions paper: an analytical critique

December 28, 2009 5 Comments
The Sessions paper: an analytical critique

Roger Sessions has published a white paper, “The IT Complexity Crisis: Danger and Opportunity” (PDF). It’s created a bit of a stir in tech circles, largely because Sessions estimates that “worldwide, we are already losing over USD 500 billion per month on IT failure, and the problem is getting worse” (page 1; emphasis in original). […]

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HR 3200 from a systems design perspective (Part II)

September 8, 2009 5 Comments
HR 3200 from a systems design perspective (Part II)

In the first part of this three-part series, I briefly outlined the parallels between developing software and crafting legislation, while pointing out the great risks and issues in the latter. I also indicated what I felt were some of the general structural flaws¬† in HR 3200, the House bill on health care reform — not […]

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HR 3200 from a systems design perspective (Part I)

September 7, 2009 11 Comments
HR 3200 from a systems design perspective (Part I)

[Welcome Slashdotters — feel free to leave comments here or there. But no debates on health care reform or what HR 3200 does or does not do, please — just on the concept itself.] [Part II is now up.] On the occasions where I have reviewed the actual text of major legislation, I have been […]

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Techno-blindness

May 28, 2009 1 Comment
Techno-blindness

A few decades back, when handheld electronic calculators were still pretty neat, someone did a study on the authority people gave to them. As I recall, those conducting the study built some normal-looking calculators that were designed with specific errors in the calculation circuits such that in certain cases the calculators would give wrong answers. […]

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The thermocline of innovation (NASA, again)

January 30, 2009 2 Comments
The thermocline of innovation (NASA, again)

I have written about the thermocline of truth, a phenomenon I have witnessed several times in large IT projects where the true status of the project (usually not good) gets blocked at a certain layer of management, slowly moving up the management chain and usually reaching the top just weeks before the scheduled release date.¬† […]

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